Man given jail term for assaulting partner

Home detention has been rejected for a Northlander who seriously assaulted his partner and locked her in a shipping container during their short but turbulent relationship.

The man, who cannot be named as the victim has permanent name suppression, was sentenced by Justice Mark Woolford in the High Court at Whangarei to three and a-half years in prison after being found guilty of eight charges by a jury in September.

They include four charges of assault with intent to injure, two of kidnapping, one of injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and another of injuring with intent to injure.

The judge acknowledged letters of support for the man from his parents - who were in court during sentencing - and the community, urging a non-custodial sentence, but said the offences were too serious to attract home detention.

The victim, he said, endured severe and repeated beatings and mental abuse by her partner, whose actions were a direct result of his heavy methamphetamine use.

On one occasion, the judge said, the man locked her up for a few minutes in a shipping container, where she felt suffocated. The victim was undergoing counselling. The father of three continued to deny his offending and had been assessed as at a medium risk of re-offending.

Crown solicitor Mike Smith said aggravating features were the repeated nature of his re-offending, the length of time and the level of violence involved.

Mr Smith urged the court to take limited consideration to the time the man spent on bail during sentencing.

Defence lawyer Chris Muston said the time spent on bail since February this year should be factored in, and submitted that the offending occurred in the context of a domestic, dysfunctional relationship.

Justice Woolford agreed to the Crown's application for a protection order against the victim. After sentencing, he urged the man's father to support him after his release from prison. He will be eligible for parole in about 15 months.

- Imran Ali of The Northern Advocate

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